The #SeattleBundas are back at it. This time we have an amazing itinerary over the next seven and a half weeks taking us all over western Europe: Frankfurt, Wurzburg, and Rothenberg ob der Tauber, and Weil am Rhein, Germany; Paris (including Disneyland) and Maison-Laffitte, France; Brussels, Belgium; London, Bath, Clevedon/Somerset, and Haywards Heath, England; Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, Milan, and Venice, Italy; Thun, Switzerland. We also have a one-week Adriatic Cruise starting/ending in Venice, Italy and visiting the following along the way: Dubrovnik and Split, Croatia; Ancient Athens, Greece; and Ancient Ephesus, Turkey.
As many of you know, we have been committed to the carry-on only, One-Bag travel philosophy now since the beginning of the year.
Before our Japan trip in March, Paul spent many hours researching convertible backpacks. The bags carry like backpacks or they can be carried by a side handle or shoulder strap with the backpack straps tucked away. Also, when it is time to access the bags, they unzip and open all the way flat instead of having to reach down into the top to access like a traditional backpack.
We ended up choosing a couple different bags, all with many fabulous features. We purchased eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible Junior backpacks for the kids because they have a slightly smaller form factor while maintaining the flexibility of several types of compartments. I chose the Minaal bag, with a very simple form factor and fewer sections. I tend to squirrel lots of different things away, so this forces me to stay streamlined and organized. Paul picked the Osprey Farpoint 55 travel backpack which has all of the features we looked for in addition to an attachable/removable day pack.
We each also carry a smaller day bag. Paul has the detachable day pack from his Farpoint, Trey and I have side pouches, and Kamaile has a camera case with a tiny bit of storage. Additionally, we purchased a set of eBags packing cubes for each of us. Everyone gets their own color so we can always identify whose stuff is who’s.
So, has it worked and do we still like this concept? Absolutely! Time after time we see others struggling with large suitcases as they labor from one train platform to another and are so grateful that we carry everything on our backs. So far, both Asia and Europe have had many stairs, cobblestones, and uneven pavement that makes roller suitcases very impractical. Plus, we have saved lots time and money as we have avoided checking our luggage.
One bag does mean a limited number of clothes. But what about laundry? If you don’t have many clothes, you do have to wash them every few days. We have found that it is very simple to wash things in bathroom sinks or bathtubs, or find a laundromat or laundry service. Hotel shampoo actually does a decent job. Keeping up with the laundry only requires a little forethought….You don’t let yourself run out of clean underwear more than once! You also can’t do laundry the night before a travel day because things might not be dry by the time you have to pack up.
I know, I know, all you really wanted to know was what I brought in my bag. Again, we started with research. Basically, I scoured Pinterest for ideas. (If you need a starting point, feel free to look at my pins @labunda or Laura Bunda.) There are many many boards for carry-on only traveling for all seasons and areas of the world. The are also tons of ideas for capsule wardrobes. Travelfashiongirl.com is a favorite site of mine. Paul and I have both also learned a lot from Nomadic Matt . com as well as ricksteves.com. Eventually I picked my favorite plan and modeled my wardrobe after it. I, who cannot follow a recipe, cannot follow a wardrobe plan either, it turns out. So I sort of followed this plan. And this one.
Very important, because I stick with mostly neutral colors, these 13 or so pieces can be mixed and matched to make many outfits. If you believe the articles and pics on Pinterest, over 25 outfits!
One dress, one pair each of jeans, black leggings, and green travel pants, a pair of khaki shorts, one black cardigan sweater, one 3/4 sleeve charcoal blouse, one gray long sleeve tee, one black cami, one reversible skirt, three short sleeve shirts (one blue solid, one black print, one with stripes), one blue tank top, and a scarf. At the last second I decided to throw in another gray cami that is not pictured. Also not pictured are a rain coat, swim suit, five pair of socks, six pairs of underwear, two bras, and a long sleep shirt. This is pretty much the same type of wardrobe that I brought along to South East Asia earlier this year.
My travel outfit consisted of jeans, the gray cami, striped shirt, sweater, and sneakers. Everything else was rolled and put into packing cubes according to category: tops, bottoms, toiletries, and everything else. Together with my bag, this all weighed about 10 1/2 pounds. A few more toiletry items and my Keens were thrown in last minute making my total a little under 13 pounds.
The next question I often hear: Do you want to burn your clothes by the time you get home? The answer is yes. Some of my clothing pieces I left behind in Indonesia when we departed. Several of the items, however, have earned an encore performance and have come along on this trip as well: reversible skirt, travel pants, charcoal blouse, and black cardigan.One week in and the scheme is holding up well. I have done two sink loads of laundry that hung dry on shower curtain rods and hangers. I think this whole plan is going to work again!
Do you have any stories or advice about packing for traveling? I would love to hear them.